• 2019 AFCON Third Place Play Off | Wednesday, 17th July
• Nigeria Vs Tunisia
• At Al Salam Stadium, Cairo (10:00 PM, EAT)
By the end of the final whistle on Friday night when Senegal takes on Algeria at Cairo International Stadium, a 12th local coach in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations tourney will smile to the podium as a champion.
It will either be Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi or Senegal’s Aliou Cisse.
Ironically, both are former captains of their respective countries and shared a lot in the professional football career in France, among other countries.
Cisse played for Senegal between 1999 and 2005 winning 35 international caps, including featuring at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Germany and one AFCON final (lost to Cameroon in 2002).
He featured in four French Ligue one clubs as Lille, Sedan, Paris Saint Germain and Montepellier (on loan) and lately Nimes.
In the English Premier League, he played at Portsmouth and Birmingham City.
Djamel Belmadi, like Cisse also played at PSG, Martigues, Marseille, Valenciennes, Cannes, Celta Vigo, Al Ittihad, Al – Kharitiyath and Southampton.
Over the 32 editions of Africa’s showpiece football tournament, this will be fifth final to have two local (African) coaches on helm of the finalists’ technical staff.
Just four times before the final was an All-African coaches affair.
In 1962 hosts Ethiopia coached by legend Yidnekatchew Tessema won their first (and only to date) AFCON title, defeating Egypt 4-2 in the final.
The Pharaohs were then coached by the duet of Mohamed El Guindy and Hanafy Bastan.
Ghana won the 1965 edition, beating hosts Tunisia 3-2.
The Black Stars coach Charles Gyamfi had his second successive AFCON glory then, defeating Tunisian counterpart Mokhtar Ben Nacef.
Another Ghanaian, Fred Ousam-Duodu led the Black stars to the 1978 title at home, defeating Uganda led by local legend Pete Okee 2-0 in the final.
In 1998, Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary became the first man to win AFCON as a player (1959) and coach.
He guided the Pharaohs to their fourth title in Burkina Faso, defeating South Africa, coached by local icon Jomo Sono 2-0 in the final.
Overall, 11 local coaches had won 15 AFCON titles in the previous 31 editions. Ghana’s Gyamfi and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata had each won record three titles, with Nigerian Stephen Keshi being the latest to achieve that in 2013.
Come Friday night, history beckons for Belmadi or Cisse.
African coaches to win AFCON titles:
• Mourad Fahmy (Egypt – 1959)
• Yidnekatchew Tessema (Ethiopia – 1962)
• Charles Gyamfi (Ghana – 1963, 1965 and 1982)
• Adolphe Bibanzoulo (Congo – 1972)
• Fred Osam-Duodu (Ghana – 1978)
• Abdelhamid Kermali (Algeria – 1990)
• Yeo Martial (Cote d’Ivoire – 1992)
• Clive Barker (South Africa – 1996)
• Mahmoud El Gohary (Egypt – 1998)